Two Worlds : Hugh McMillan


I follow my eyes to the hills 

and the swallows spelling words 

in the air. No more than 

twenty miles that way 

is the sea: we are in a sleeve

of land between two worlds. 

Here it is Spring. The girls move 

easily through the woods,

they were born in this well of light, 

but at night we watch a digger

shoving the cheap coffins 

of the countless dead 

into a builder’s trench, the poor,

the dispossessed, the loveless.

Drone high in a dank New York 

afternoon we are staring 

once more down the cuff 

of history to the bone beneath.

Eritrea, Darfur, Elmhurst Hospital.

A tide of negligence and cruelty

too high and ageless to resist.

We switch the TV off, drink tea.

Tomorrow the anemone will shine

like tiny stars. The birds have always

sung at Auschwitz.